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Wednesday, 11 May 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - Is it too much to ask the Minister (Senator Pearce) to postpone the consideration of the clause! If he will not, I indorse what has been said by Senator Foster. There is no reasonin peace time for provisions of this kind. We have just come through five years of war,, and so far as Australia is concerned another war is exceedingly improbable for a very long while. Therefore we should not now endeavour to increase the power, prestige, and domination of a military caste or clique. The general effect of the Bill is to tighten military discipline, to increase military punishments, and to make military officers still more important. A large section of the Committee - possibly; if hearts couldbe searched, a majority - is against the clause, and I ask the Minister to recognise this. To strike out the clause would leave matters in statu quo, and would not weaken in any way the authority military officers have now. I hope that it will not get abroad that we have reimposed capital punishment on our soldiers.

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